Schools across Wrexham and Flintshire will welcome back all pupils today for the first time in more than three months.

The Welsh Government's plans for the remainder of this summer term are to give students and teachers a chance to "check in, catch up, [and] prepare" for what should be a return to more normal education in September.

In what is effectively a mini term, lasting up to four weeks, no more than one-third of Welsh pupils will be asked to attend school at any one time; and staggered starts and lesson times will make it easier for teachers to maintain social distancing in their classrooms.

When education minister Kirsty Williams announced the schools' re-opening plan earlier this month, she said waiting until September would have been "to the detriment to the wellbeing, learning progress and mental health of our young people".

The Leader:

All Saints' School in Gresford has prepared for pupils to return during the coronavirus pandemic. Image: All Saints' School

Many schools across the region have either been fully or partially closed since the outbreak started in March, although many hubs have kept running for vulnerable and key workers’ children.

The coronavirus pandemic has sent a shockwave through the education system by cancelling GCSE and A-level exams, forcing teachers to set assignments online, and robbing children of the chance to learn, play, and develop alongside their peers.

Generally, Covid-19 cases and deaths have been decreasing in recent weeks, but the virus still circulates in our communities and, because of ongoing public health concerns, the Welsh Government will not punish parents who choose not to send their children back to school for this four-week period.

The opening up of Welsh schools to all pupils goes beyond the phased re-opening approach in England where, since mid-June, schools have been asked to prioritise the return of nursery, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils; as well as some "face-to-face support" for Years 10 and 12 pupils who will sit GCSE or A-level exams next year.

Social distancing signs, hand sanitising stations and one-way systems are among some of the measures being put in place ahead of reopening, to ensure youngsters are protected from the coronavirus.